January 30, 2019 4:06 pm
Updated: January 31, 2019 2:44 am

Search continues for missing rancher in B.C.’s Interior

The search for a 32-year-old cowboy last seen Saturday afternoon continues in B.C.'s interior after Ben Tyner's riderless horse was found north of Merritt Monday. Catherine Urquhart reports.

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The search for a missing man in B.C.’s Interior is now in its third day.

Ben Tyner was reported missing on Monday after loggers found a riderless horse north of Merritt. Local ranchers helped retrieve the horse and identified its owner.

Tyner, 32, was last seen Saturday afternoon. It’s unknown when Tyner rode into the backcountry or where he was heading.

Tyner has been working at the Nicola Ranch as a ranch manager.

READ MORE: Teams from across province continue search for missing Merritt, B.C., cowboy

“He’s a rancher, so we believe he was dressed for the weather, probably had proper gear but there’s no indication that he took anything to spend the night,” Merritt RCMP Const. Tracy Dunsmore told CJFC in Kamloops.

“Usually they have a lighter or something on them. He’s not a smoker but in our investigation, we determined that he would probably at least carry a lighter or something to make a fire. We haven’t been able to locate anything like that so far.”

Ben Tyner is a ranch manager at Nicola Ranch.

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Nicola Valley Search and Rescue is co-ordinating the search. Also helping are search-and-rescue crews from Kamloops, the Shuswap, the Central Okanagan, Penticton, Princeton, Logan Lake, Chilliwack and Surrey.

On Tuesday, Merritt RCMP said nearly 40 search-and-rescue members were on site, along with dog services, snowmobiles, air support and help from a local lumber mill and the Lower Nicola Indian Band.

“We’ve had tremendous help from search-and-rescue crews from across the province,” Dunsmore told Global News.

WATCH BELOW: (Aired Jan. 29, 2019) Family of man missing for more than a year makes public plea


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Notably, Global News talked to Tyner after the recent arsonist church fires in Merritt on Friday, Jan. 11.

The Crossroads Community Church on Voght Street suffered some damage, but the 143-year-old Murray United Church north of Merritt was completely destroyed, reduced to a pile of ashes.

“Well, it’s tragic, really,” Tyner told Global News on a cool, overcast day with snow partially covering the ground, with puffs of smoke rising from the burned-out remains of the church in the background.

“The church has been a landmark here for well over 100 years . . . it’s been part of the community,” continued Tyner. “I know I’m not from here, I didn’t grow up around it, but I know a lot of people that did. This morning, it’s been very upsetting. It’s definitely a tragic loss.

“It was a historic point for this area; it was one of the oldest churches in B.C., to my understanding. Just a senseless act and a very tragic and irreplaceable loss.”

Asked what he would say to the arsonist, Tyner gave a horse-sense response.

“I don’t know that I’d . . . I don’t know that he would warrant any of my time to comment to. I don’t think anyone that would stoop that low would be worth talking to.”

Police say August David Caprian, 37, of Merritt is facing three charges of arson along with a charge of break-and-enter with intent to commit an offence.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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